Emma Kaplan is the National Youth and Student Coordinator of World Can't Wait
Bradley Manning is set to go to court martial on June 3rd at Fort Meade, Maryland. He has been charged with 22 violations, the most serious accusation being "aiding the enemy." Manning is charged with leaking the Guantanamo Files, The Afghan and Iraq war logs, US State Embassy Cables as well as the Collateral Murder video which shows the U.S. murdering civilians including two Reuters journalistsin an Iraqi suburb from an Apache Helicopter. These documents and footage show grave U.S. war crimes, how the powers that be attempted to cover up these war crimes and also exposed high level corruption that was an impetus for the Tunisian Revolution.
Let's be clear. Bradley Manning is not a misguided army soldier. He is a human being that has shown tremendous courage and moral clarity when confronted with the fact that the U.S. military was destroying the lives hundreds of thousands of people , through indefinite detention and wantonly murdering civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Andy Worthington wrote in his blog post, Please Support the International Day of Action for Bradley Manning on Saturday June 1, 2013
“On “Collateral Murder,” the 2007 video from Iraq, Bradley was horrified by the callousness and blood lust of the US military personnel involved. As he [Bradley Manning] explained:
'The video depicted several individuals being engaged by an aerial weapons team. At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other “war porn”-type videos depicting combat. However, the recording and audio comments by the aerial weapons team and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me. [...]
They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life, and referred to them as, quote unquote, “dead bastards,” and congratulated each other on their ability to kill in large numbers'
Because of the Guantanamo Files and Bradley Manning, the American public could learn the truth behind Guantanamo. We found out things that were previously unknown including the fact that the U.S. military held over 150 innocent men at Guantanamo, and some children.This has very real ramifications right now as there are still 166 men detained in Guantanamo with no real hope for release and many of them over a 100 days on a hungerstrike. The majority of them have either been cleared for release or not charged with any crime
On finding the Guantanamo Files, Bradley said:
"I also recall that in early 2009 the then newly elected president, Barack Obama, stated he would close Joint Task Force Guantanamo, and that the facility compromised our standing over all, and diminished our, quote unquote, “moral authority.” After familiarizing myself with the DABs, I agreed....
The more I became educated on the topic, it seemed that we found ourselves holding an increasing number of individuals indefinitely that we believed or knew to be innocent, low-level foot soldiers that did not have useful intelligence and would’ve been released if they were held in theatre."
Last Thursday, World Can't Wait published a full page ad in the New York Times signed by Michael Moore, Alice Walker, Oliver Stone, Guantanamo lawyers, John Cusack, Daniel Ellsberg, former military officials and 1200+. The ad demanded that the cleared prisoners still held at Guantanamo be release immediately and an end to indefinite detention for the rest. At the top it had pictures of those still detained at Guantanamo. The world might have never seen who some of these prisoners were if it wasn't for Bradley Manning.
There has been much written and researched on what these files reveal about war crimes and there is of course much more to learn. But one thing is sure, Bradley Manning is a hero. What is a hero? Somebody who does the right thing for other people at great personal risk to themselves. When Manning was confronted with what he saw, he made the decision that the lives of the people of the world were just as valuable as American lives.
Barack Obama has refused to prosecute any of the criminals in the Bush administration, guilty of lying about weapons of mass destruction, murdering hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, torture and for the chemical and radiological warfare in Iraq that is still causing an alarming rate birth defects in children. No, Barack Obama could not prosecute any of those criminals but instead has gone after those who put a spotlight on those crimes.
In April 2011, when Bradley Manning supporters sang a song about Bradley Manning during the President's fundraiser in San Francisco, Obama said," We are nation of laws. We don't let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.”
Ironic coming from a man who gave a speech just 7 days ago in which he justified his program of targeted drone killings without charge or trial.and made no real promises to close Guantanamo Bay prison.
Obama is also responsible for authorizing force feeding at Guantanamo which the UN has deemed as torture and a violation of international law.
This might be confusing to some, so let me help clarify. When the U.S. military charges Bradley Manning with "aiding the enemy," who do they mean? The people of the world is, whose lives are completely expendable in the pursuits of the interests of completely of the U.S. empire. The charges against Manning are absolutely bogus and having nothing to do with keeping "America safe."
From Revolution Newspaper: High Stakes in the Cruel and Unjust Trial of Bradley Manning
For years, the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somolia, and Yemen have lived under unspeakable terror waged on them by the U.S. military via drones, indefinite detention, torture, the bombing of wedding parties, murdering children and all the time wondering: Is there anybody out there who cares? All the time they have been praying that somebody will take notice. Somebody did. His name is Bradley Manning. Will you take notice?
Get out to Fort Meade action the week of June 1st at in Maryland where Bradley Manning is schedule to have his court martial on June 3rd.
Join in solidarity actions beginning Saturday June 1st planned in the U.S. and around the world in San Francisco, London, Chicago, South Korea, Australia, Berlin, Seattle, Los Angeles, Tuscon, Medford, Boston, Toronto, Honolulu, Toledo, Tampa, New Jersey, Santa Cruz and more..
Sign and Donate to publish our Close Guantanamo Now Message that was a published in the New York Times so that we can get it into international media.
Get a DVD copy of Collateral Murder, the footage that Bradley leaked.
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